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Tropical Storm Gamma death toll up to 32 and rising

From Reuters:

TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras, Nov 21 (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Gamma killed at least 32 people in Honduras and many more are feared dead in mudslides in two remote villages, an emergency official said on Monday.

Dozens of homes may have been buried by mud after heavy rains at the villages in the eastern province of Olancho, said Randolfo Funez, an official at the national civil protection agency.

Officials had earlier put the death toll in Honduras from Gamma, which pushed through Central America last weekend, at 11 people, but it rose on Monday as reports came in from areas that were cut off.

"The most recent death toll we have is 32, unfortunately. Twelve of them are from the settlements of Rio Verde and Dos Portillos where it is feared that there are many more deaths due to the destruction of homes from mudslides," Funez said.

Gamma, the 24th major storm in a record-breaking hurricane season, weakened to a tropical depression on Sunday.

Among its victims were three people who died in a plane crash on the way to a luxury jungle lodge in Belize owned by film director Francis Ford Coppola.

In October, Hurricane Stan killed up to 2,000 people in Central America as flash floods and mudslides washed away entire villages.


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